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21 June 2016 @ 07:09 pm
Good Enough - Part Seven  
Kirsten, Summer, and Kaitlin visit Pasadena! There's some silliness, and some seriousness. And Ryan gets a hug! lol


Chapter Seven

When Kirsten pulled up outside Nora's house, Summer in the passanger seat and Kaitlin in back, she was relieved to see it was a nice house, in a nice neighborhood. There were a half dozen cars parked in the drive and on the street in front of it, so she assumed the Walker siblings were all present, but Ryan's Jeep was nowhere to be seen.

"Should we wait for him to get here?" Summer asked.

Before Kirsten could reply the door opened and Kevin stepped out, waving them in. "I guess not," she said.

"Ryan volunteered to run out to the store," he explained. "Asked me to watch for you."

"Sounds about right," Summer said. "Both the volunteering and the making sure we wouldn't end up sitting in the car."

Kevin nodded, gesturing for them to come in and leading the way to the kitchen. "Ryan's other family is here," he said before introducing everyone.

"It's so nice to meet you," Nora said with a smile as she took Kirsten's hand.

"You, too," Kirsten said. "Thank you for being so good to him lately."

"Like I told Ryan, I may be furious with William, and I may hate Ryan's mother, but Ryan didn't ask for any of this, he's the innocent in all of it. And more than that, he is my children's brother, he's family."

"More and more I'm thinking I will strangle my husband and need Kevin to defend me," Kirsten said. "Because I haven't seen any reason for what he did."

"I think Cohen men are just idiots," Summer said with a shrug.

"Please let me be there when you say that to Seth's face," Ryan said as he came in carrying a few grocery bags.

"I thought you were just grabbing more pasta and sauce?" Kitty said.

"Kirsten and Summer prefer Apple Cider to Apple Juice, and Kaitlin is allergic to oregano, so I had to buy the stuff to make decent sauce for her."

"Or I could just skipped the sauce," Kaitlin pointed out.

"It'll take me five minutes to make a small batch of sauce, Kaitlin," Ryan said, shrugging again.

"I told you, he takes care of everyone else first, always," Kaitlin told Kevin.

"You did," Kevin agreed, grinning.

"While Ryan takes over the kitchen," Sarah teased, nudging her youngest brother's shoulder as she walked past. "We want the dirt. What stories can you tell us to embarrass him with?"

Kirsten started to protest that she wouldn't do that, but Summer spoke over her. "Cotillion," she said. "Picture this. Ryan. In a tuxedo, completely with tails and white gloves. Getting in a fist fight."

"Hey now!" Ryan protested. "I didn't start it, I was trying to stop it!"

"My dad was a stock broker," Kaitlin explained. "And when my sister Marissa came out to society at Cotillion, with Ryan as her escort... well, that night another dad found out that mine had stolen a bunch of money from him, and he decked dad in the middle of the waltz. Ryan jumped in to try and save dad from a beat down. It was actually kinda awesome."

"I'll be sure to tell Jimmy you said that," Ryan said dryly.

"There's also Vegas," Summer said, grinning when Kirsten and Kaitlin both looked confused. "They don't know what went down in Vegas?"

"No exactly a family friendly story," Ryan said.

"Did you hook up with a hooker?" Tommy asked with a grin that had Kitty, Sarah, and Nora smacking him with dishtowels.

"Nope," Summer said. "But he did count cards to win the money to pay off the pimp for Seth's hookers."

"What?!" Kirsten said.

"To be fair, he didn't know the blonde bikini clad co-ed who kissed him randomly was a hooker," Ryan said. "I didn't even figure it out until her pimp showed up with the other five hookers he accidentally hired. We had to use all the money I'd planned to give Theresa..." he trailed off, then shook his head. "It wasn't enough so I got into a backroom poker game and counted cards to win enough. We broken even in the sense that we didn't end up with any broken bones, and I even got a trucker hat out of the deal. Until Summer threw it in the canal."

"It was ugly and smelled like it's old owner," Summer said. "You should have thanked me, you looked ridiculous."

"Says the girl who's boyfriend hired six hookers," Kaitlin said. "By accident! How do you hire six hookers by accident?"

"It takes talent," Ryan commented. "Sorry, Kirsten."

"At this point, I should not be surprised by any stories about you and Seth's antics," Kirsten said.

"You mean stories of Ryan bailing Seth out of antics?" Summer said. "Did you know that when they came back after the summer of absence, Ryan came to see me to try and get me to forgive Seth for bailing..."

"Summer of absence?" Tommy asked.

"I..." Ryan began, then stopped and took a deep breath.

"You don't have to..." Sarah interrupted.

"No, it's okay," Ryan said. "The summer after my sophomore year of high school, I... I got a girl pregnant. And I went back to Chino with her to take care of her and the baby. She ended up telling me she had a miscarriage, and I went back to Newport right before school started again."

"Oh sweetie..."

"Found out later it wasn't my kid anyway, but... yeah," Ryan said. "And Seth, in the wisdom that only a sixteen year-old boy can have, decided to take off on his catamaran to Tahiti."

"I knew it!" Summer said. "He tried to tell me he wasn't going to Tahiti, the plan was to go up the coast all along!"

"No, the plan was Tahiti," Ryan assured her.

"In a catamaran?" Justin asked.

"Yup," Ryan said.

"My son doesn't think his plans through," Kirsten said.

"He doesn't think," Kaitlin corrected. "Sorry, but... I'm right."

~~~

The rest of the night went pretty much the same, sharing stories about Ryan's years in Newport, and a few about the Walkers, and by the time Ryan walked Kirsten, Summer and Kaitlin back to the range rover, they were all relaxed.

"It's good to know that they're looking out for you," Kirsten said after the girls got in the car. "I understand why you don't want to be in Newport right now, or maybe ever again, and I'm glad you have somewhere safe to go and people who love you."

"I know I've still got you guys, too," Ryan said firmly. "And I'm not... this isn't like the cage fighting. I'm not disappearing and self destructing. I'm just.. I need to know them. I need to... I love you guys, but in a way you've never been my family. Not... I know you love me, I know you consider me like a son. And Seth considers me like a brother. But to them... I just am their brother. I walked in this house that first night, and I just... I felt like maybe I belonged. I feel like I belong to them, and they belong to me, and that's... the only other time I've felt like that was with Trey."

"As long as you're happy, and you at least send me a postcard so I know you're okay..." Kirsten began, pulling him into a hug.

"I'll call sometime soon," Ryan promised. "I do love you guys, Kirsten."

"I know, and we love you, too, honey," Kirsten said. "I really like them. They're so nice, I just don't know why Sandy would have lied, they seem..."

"I can't believe I'm about to say this, but in Sandy's defense they were on their best behavior tonight. They usually bicker a bit more and make inappropriate comments and jokes. But you can always tell they love each other under it. And I feel pretty lucky that they seem to love me too."

"What's not to love?" Kirsten said. "But we need to get going. Jimmy's coming in tomorrow morning, I know Kaitlin wants to meet him at the Marina."

"Okay," Ryan said. "I'll see you soon." He stayed outside until they turned the corner at the end of the street, then turned and headed back inside, pausing to listen as he heard the Walkers talking in the kitchen.

"I wasn't expecting to like her," Kitty said. "After what they've put Ryan through..."

"I think that was mostly Mr. Cohen," Justin pointed out.

"She was pretty pissed to find out that we wanted to know Ryan, and it was Mr. Cohen that said we didn't," Kevin agreed.

"At least we know he's had a few people on his side in Newport," Tommy said.

"You guys always whisper behind each others backs?" Ryan asked as he walked in.

His siblings exchanged glances, then as one replied. "Yes."

Ryan laughed while Nora scolded them. "Hey, at least they're honest," he told her. "Thanks for lowering your level of crazy for night, I was worried you're scare them," he added. "But Kirsten thinks you're all lovely people." He paused, looking around the room. "You have her completely fooled.

Sarah grabbed a sponge from the sink and threw it at Ryan. "That is not nice!"

"Truth hurts," Ryan replied, laughing.

"I just want to know, when do we get to introduce you to our families?" Kitty said. "I mean, you're obviously going to meet Scotty soon, since you took the job offer at the restaurant, but..."

"Hey, that's up to you guys," Ryan said. "You set it up, I will show up."

"Good, because my kids are dying to meet their new uncle," Sarah said.

"Really? Because Olivia is scared to death to meet him," Kevin said. "She thinks he'll hate her."

"Why would I hate any kid? Especially one that's family?" Ryan asked.

"She's had some trouble understanding that she's family now and we love her," Nora said. "She had it rough in foster care."

"Foster care?" Ryan asked. "Kevin, tell her that I was in foster care, and I know that blood doesn't make family, love does. As long as she isn't an evil little monster, I won't hate her. Hell, even if she is an evil little monster I'll probably love her because she's your evil little monster."

"Olivia is a sweetheart," Nora said.

"The point is, I can't hate a kid. I've known some genuinely evil kids and I didn't hate them," Ryan said.

"How evil?"

"Well... Kaitlin has out grown most of her evilness, but when I first met her... damn. That girl was scary."

"She threatened me with bodily harm five minutes after meeting me," Kevin said. "She's still evil. Just for a good cause."

"I'll tell her you said that, she'll be thrilled," Ryan said.

"Please don't."

"No, seriously, she will love that she terrifies you, that's where the evil comes in," Ryan said. "And I want to meet everybody's families. I... my whole life my only real family, the only one I could count on for anything, was Trey. I always wanted more, and... now I've got it."

"You don't talk about Trey much," Sarah said.

"Now who's pushing," Nora commented.

Ryan laughed slightly. "Trey and I used to be really close, but some stuff happened, he... he let me down, and he betrayed my trust, and he hurt someone I loved. But we're trying to rebuild. I talked to him about a week ago, right before I came to meet everybody, it was a good talk, so..."

"What does he think of all this?" Justin asked.

"As long as I don't forget that he taught me to walk, ride a bike, swear, and drink, it's all good."

"You're not old enough to drink!" Nora protested.

"Since when does that stop anyone?" Justin replied. "We all drank and smoked pot when we were very underage."

"Yes, but Ryan's a good kid," Nora replied.

Ryan laughed. "Oh Nora, you... I'm not a good kid."

"Please, you're sweet, polite, you made a separate pot of spaghetti sauce for Kaitlin tonight," Nora said.

"I also get in fist fights, swear, steal cars..."

"To be fair, from what you've said it's more 'try and fail to steal cars'..." Justin commented.

"I never really learned that one," Ryan grudgingly admitted. "The point is, as sad as it is, except for the whole trespassing thing, you guys have pretty much seen me at my best. You haven't seen..."

"We'll love you anyway," Kitty said, impulsively putting an arm around his shoulders and pulling him close.

"I don't think you can get worse than than getting high and stripping in the kitchen to go swimming," Justin said, gesturing at himself. "Or the time Mom and Holly got in a food fight at the opening of Tommy's winery."

"Please tell me you got her good?" Ryan asked Nora. "Like ruined her dress and hair..."

"She was a mess," Nora said. "I will admit she and I came to a... peaceful coexistence after that, but she ended that with how she ambushed you."

"For the record, Rebecca's not happy with her mom about that, either," Justin said. "She actually called her out for doing the same thing she yelled at Sarah for doing way back when we thought Rebecca was the sibling."

"You did what?" Ryan asked Sarah, surprised.

"I made a mistake and I apologized to Rebecca later," Sarah said. "I let my anger at Holly for butting into Ojai Foods overrun the knowledge that I was dropping a bombshell on an innocent girl's life. In my defense, Kevin yanked a hair out of her head."

"You what?" Ryan said, turning to Kevin.

"I was suspicious and not sure she really was our sister," Kevin said. "And you didn't need to bring that up," he added to Sarah.

"No one demanded I take a DNA test," Ryan pointed out.

"The chances of two women making dad think their kids were his when they weren't seem pretty low," Kevin said. "Besides, he paid your mom regularly even though he didn't continue the affair like he did with Holly. He probably had one done. And if you want bad sibling behavior? Kitty yelled at Rebecca for throwing her a birthday party."

"I had barely talked to her before, and she chose a mexican restraunt!" Kitty said. "I hate Mexican food. And we never even got seated at that place..."

"Mom trying to manipulate the party occupying our tables did not help," Tommy said.

"My birthday's are cursed," Kitty told Ryan. "Back to back years, first Dad has his heart attack, and then Justin got hurt..."

"I was in Iraq," Justin explained. "Convoy was heading back to the base after a mission and we hit an IED, along with sniper fire... my knee was all kinds of messed up. Kitty spent her birthday driving to San Diego with Mom and Kevin to pick me up."

"Makes my birthday look good," Ryan said. "And in the last four years I've only gotten to celebrate one of them..."

"You're kidding?"

"Cohens threw me an Eighteenth," Ryan said. "Which had a cover band of the wrong band, and badly photo shopped pictures of me in every profession except the one they knew I was planning on going to school for. I overheard Sandy and Kirsten talking about my mom being in jail on drug charges, but got lied to at the party that she was too busy with 'work' and couldn't make it. Not to mention it was like two weeks after a kid fell of a cliff because I didn't catch him in time..."

There was a moment of silence, then Sarah spoke. "I think I remember reading about that. He was drunk and fell..."

Ryan nodded. "He had a thing for Marissa, and she tried to let him down gently, but he went and got drunk with Kaitlin, and when Johnny started climbing up the cliff, Kaitlin called Marissa. We went down there, and... I tried to talk him down but... he stepped backwards and I didn't move fast enough, I didn't grab him in time. After his funeral Seth thought I was happy because now my competition was out of the picture, and Marissa was mad I wasn't more upset... It was a mess."

Kitty wrapped her other around around his shoulders, too, hugging him tight, while the other looked mildly horrified.

"You just said more than you have any time when not stressed out and rambling," Kevin pointed out.

"Thanks for trusting us with it," Justin added.

Ryan shrugged. "You guys have really stepped up for me lately, and if you can share your awkward mistakes and screw-ups..."

"None of what you said was your screw-ups, though. Just other people's," Sarah said. "You are not responsible for that boy dying."

"Took a while, but I get that now," Ryan promised her.

"I saw we share more screw-ups," Kitty suggested. "Oh! Like the time mom decided to get us all to jump in the pool, fully dressed, at my engagement party."

"I'm still sorry I missed that," Justin said. "I shipped out early, missed the second half of the party."

"Robert's relatives thought we were crazy," Kitty said.

"Robert's relatives were a bunch of white trash," Nore said. "His uncle wore a powder blue suit and flirted with me all night. And one of his cousins kept stealing the flower arrangements from the moment she walked in."

Ryan laughed. "That's... something."

"They brought jello molds," Sarah added.

"Classy," Ryan agreed with a nod before snickering.

"I think we can agree I'm the king of screw ups in this family," Justin said. "Some funny, some not so much."

"You are not a screw up, Justin," Nora said.

"Rehab twice, the first time after an overdose that almost killed me, second time after getting addicted to painkillers."

"That I forced you to take," Nora said. "After he came home from Iraq and his knee was hurt so bad, he didn't want to take them in fear of addiction, but I kept pushing him because he was hurting so much."

"Maybe if I'd taken them from the beginning it wouldn't have been so bad I kept taking extras," Justin pointed out. "I let them down over and over again... oh man, I gotta tell you about family day at Rehab the first time," he said suddenly. "Picture this, I'm sitting on one side, next to the main counselor. In front of me, all of them are lined up. It's suppose to be about me apologizing for my behavior, but Mom keeps insisting it's 'okay' and it's 'fine'. Then everyone starts bickering. Kevin was mad that Kitty took a job with Robert. Sarah and Tommy were bickering over Ojai Foods, Mom kept insisting we were all usually much better behaved. They made my counselor yell at them all."

Ryan snickered. "Remind me never to be seen with you guys in public," he joked.

"I had to admit things like bailing on babysitting Paige and Cooper because I was high. And selling Kevin's mint condition Slave Girl Princess Leia action figure for fifty bucks..." Justin said.

"Even I know that's undervalue."

"She was worth $300," Kevin muttered.

"Yeah, but I wanted drugs right then, not whenever I could find a collector to buy."

"Although it does give me ideas... sell Seth's comic book collection for a third it's value and use the money to do something he'd hate."

"Like?" Justin asked, curious.

"Science books," Ryan said with a nod. "He thinks all Science is boring and doesn't understand I'm a science geek. Guy loves his scifi but doesn't appreciate the science behind it. I've even tried getting him stuff like 'Physics of Star Wars' and 'Science of Battlestar Galactica' and he just... doesn't read them before of his science hate."

"I don't think I would have pegged you for a science geek," Sarah said.

"Well, I am," Ryan said. "I love science, I love Physics, it's like... I don't know. I just like it."

"Is that what you're going to school for?" Nora asked, curious.

"Architecture. Which does involve a lot of physics," Ryan said.

"Watch out, once you have that degree, we'll all be hitting you up to help us design renovations to our houses," Tommy warned. "Unpaid, of course."

"Of course," Ryan said, nodding. "But Nora, I will be so pissed if you ever try to change this house too much, because it's gorgeous. You shouldn't mess with perfection, and the general flow of the house is just... perfect."

"I don't plan on it. I've considered changing the outside wall in William's old office to a wall of windows and french doors, but that's it."

Ryan considered. "That actually would be a good change, design-wise. It would fit the basic feel of the house."

"Are you sure your straight, because that sounds a little close to interior design," Kevin teased.

"Exterior Design is different," Ryan teased back. "Trust me, if I was I would tell you guys. I've seen the damage that hiding it can do. My friend Luke... we were sophomores when his dad was outed. It messed with Luke's head, completely turned his life upside down. I wouldn't risk doing that to someone I care about. And it's obvious, even the more... conservative members of this family don't care that you're gay, so they probably wouldn't care if I was."

"You did not see the arguments Kevin and I had about gay marriage," Kitty said. "I was against it. For civil partnerships, but against marriage. I was horrible sometimes."

"Kitty, I've heard that rant you went on against that conservative jackass radio jockey when he was badmouthing everybody," Ryan said. "Even at your worst of conservative values, you still loved and defended your brother. That's awesome."

"And here I thought you were team Democrat," Kevin said.

"I am," Ryan said. "But... when I found out about you guys I... I did some research. It wasn't hard to find out one of my newfound siblings was married to Senator McCallister, by the way the only Republican I might ever consider voting for... so out of all of you, I know the most about Kitty. Lots about her out there on the web."

"I'm scared to ask."

"I know better than to believe it all, but... I was actually kind of excited to meet you guys after I listened to a recording of that rant. You refused to let someone trash your family, that's... that spoke well of you. And well of the rest of your family."

"We were on our way to get Justin from San Diego when that happened," Kitty said. "I might have been a little more... diplomatic... if I hadn't been so scared."

"It was awesome," Ryan repeated. He glanced over at her, then at the others. "Is she usually this... huggy?"

"I think it's the whole 'our little brother had a fucked up life' thing getting to her," Justin said. "You're the baby, and she was the one in arm's reach when you looked like you needed a hug."

Ryan reached up and clasped her arm. "Thanks, Kitty," he told her. "But you can stop now, it's creeping me out."

Everyone laughed, but Kitty did release him, giving him a very slight shove for that final comment. "I was making up for eighteen years of missed hugs and comfort," she said. "Or is it almost nineteen? I don't even know when you birthday is."

"March sixteenth," Ryan said.

"That's..." Kitty began, stunned.

"Holly told you on your birthday?" Nora asked, horrified.

Ryan shrugged. "Yeah. But it's not like I was celebrating or anything, everyone forgot." He saw the quickly exchanges of glances and shook his head. "No. No party, no... next year you can, I'll be twenty, that's a good year to celebrate, I don't mind skipping nineteen. My seventeenth was spent stuck in a mall over night playing street hockey and hoping I didn't get arrested because of another of Seth's stupid ideas. My Sixteenth was spent... what the hell was I doing that year... oh! LA trying to get Kirsten's sister out of the strip club she was working in, and then trying to talk Marissa into coming back to Newport after she found out her mom was sleeping with one of her ex-boyfriends."

"I'm scared to ask about your fifteenth..."

"Went to a random party in Chino with Trey. I... don't really remember much of it. But I heard I had fun."

"Oh yeah, he's a good kid," Tommy told Nora, trying not to laugh.

"You out grew it," Nora said. "These five hide in my walk-in closet drinking wine."

"Justin wasn't allowed near alcohol and there was a ton there for the engagement party!" Tommy protested.

"I was fresh out of rehab," Justin explained.

"Hey, my mom used to celebrate getting out of rehab by buying out a liquor store and throwing a rager," Ryan said with a shrug.

"I don't think that's how it works," Kevin said.

"Going to rehab meant she could keep custody of me. Keeping custody of me, I now know, meant she would still get checks from William to use to take care of me. Check from William meant good booze and drugs for a while."

"If I had found out when you were younger, I would have made him bring you home," Nora said firmly. "He would have slept on the couch, but you would have been here, safe."

"Thanks," Ryan told her.

To Be Continued...

So, the timeline for this story is a little fuzzy. B&S began the same year as the last season of The OC (2006). but I state in this chapter that Ryan's 19th birthday just passed a few weeks earlier, setting it after The OC's series finale. But the Cohens still have their house, so there was no Earthquake. And no mention has been made of Kirsten being pregnant. Plus, the B&S stuff is a jumble of Seasons 4 and 5 (Robert's alive and Justin and Rebecca are still together so no car accident from the Season 4 Finale, but Olivia is mentioned as Kevin and Scotty's adoptive daughter and she didn't appear until mid Season 5). Some of these missing elements will turn up later in the story (The Earthquake definitely will. The big car accident probably will. Kirsten's pregnancy is 50/50), but some of them won't. I love Kitty and Robert, so I don't think I bring myself to kill Robert. I'm 50/50 about Justin and Rebecca, because rewatching B&S's from the beginning, I really do like her... but on the other hand I adore the idea of Justin/Summer... and Ryan knowing but keeping it a secret, and then the family thinks Justin is secretive because he's using again, but Ryan knows it's because he's hooking up with Summer...

I also may sorta have a 'Four Times The Walkers Found Out About Ryan (And One Time They Didn't)' in the works inspired by my decision to have Nora say she would have made William bring Ryan home with him if she'd known...
 
 
 
KLlving_darkness on June 22nd, 2016 02:53 am (UTC)
I AM LITERALLY SO EXCITED THAT YOU CAME BACK TO THIS.

i hoope to see so much more of it, and maybe a little whumphy Ryan with his new bas ass family taking such better care of him.

Yaaay!!!
thekiller00thekiller00 on June 23rd, 2016 05:33 am (UTC)
This is a great chapter. I really like how you had Ryan and them opening up about their pasts and I got a good laugh when Summer told them about Vegas.

Also, I'm wondering if we'll see Kirsten or someone else besides Ryan confront Sandy about what he did?

I really like the idea of the the Four Times They Found Out About Ryan and I'm looking forward to reading it.

Edited at 2016-06-23 05:34 am (UTC)
garnigalgarnigal on June 23rd, 2016 05:43 pm (UTC)
Love this! I can't believe it's so dialogue heavy and yet Ryan is still in character. ;)